What’s got us talking about LinkedIn myths? Well, lately we’ve had great fun advising a client on their LinkedIn account. An added bonus? It gave us a chance to test a bit of LinkedIn ‘received wisdom’ along the way.
We asked a ProfileTree writer to try different types of post, and much more, to see what works. Oh, and intentionally break what doesn’t.
So, if you’ve heard people saying that ‘personal view’ posts are doing best on Linkedin at the minute? That videos out-perform photos?
We’ll test those theories.
And what about custom images? Can external links hurt your reach? Do long-form text posts still work? And how much posting about your own business is too much?
Let’s see what happened…
Two quick things:
- The science bit: There is no science bit. The figures were compiled by a mathematically-challenged ProfileTree writer and aren’t even close to being scientific. Not even the same ball-park.
- Results will vary: Your account, your brand and your content are – of course – completely unique to you. Be wary of those who say otherwise. We just thought it would be a fun and interesting exercise to dig at a few weeks of posts to see what we find. Oh, and a caveat…we were helping a personal page. Not a company page.
Here’s Some We Made Earlier
Our business-savvy guinea pig is Belfast entrepreneur and SmarterSurfaces NI supremo Darren Toner.
ProfileTree worked with Darren from 21st July 2018 to help trial a mixture of post types.
What did we want to find out?
Do long text posts still perform? At ProfileTree, we’re seeing quality, long-form status updates making a comeback (perhaps due to a saturation of selfie videos?). Let’s explore how well they worked.
Are custom images worth the time? Quality, branded artwork can take time but brings a highly professional look. Does it affect engagement?
Has peak video been reached? It’s no longer a new trend, by a long shot, so has over-reliance on video posts ‘jumped the shark’?
What kind of subjects hit the mark? We’ve examined recent posts by the subjects they covered to look for any winners and losers.
To link or not to link? Social algorithms tend to hate external links, yet they hold obvious CTA value and a route to a defined customer journey. Where was the balance for SmarterSurfaces NI LinkedIn activity?
When to lighten up?There are various rules for percentage of ‘useful’ non-corporate content vs sales-orientated updates. How did our posts, across both types, fare?
A quick note: we aimed to drive comments over likes where possible for obvious reasons.
*Also: a charity competition post attracted low engagement but recently won some extremely valuable separate ‘mentions’ in posts by other people, as well as the possibility of future photo content with two charity prize-winners.
One participant – Gavan Wall – offered to pay for prize for an extra, third charity winner. Also impacting some of the related posts was the effect a Bank Holiday week on the results post. The moral of the story? The importance of a human interpretation of post performance.
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A Big Question!
So, Darren didn’t work with ProfileTree because we’re a fabulously fun and friendly bunch. Well, not entirely.
What were the results of the actual project to help Darren with his posts?
First, lets run through the posts we worked on for the Smarter Surfaces NI audience (newest to oldest).
We concentrated on a range of post types and subjects while some were deliberately informal or corporate, and some had links or no external links intentionally. Previous posts were mostly about products and links to corporate blogs.
1, Charity competition results: Video, no external link. Engagement – 5 comments, 23 likes, 1,470 reach.
2, Charity competition re-post: Custom image, no link. Engagement – O comments, 4 likes, 501 reach.
3, Your perfect office location?: Long-form text, no link. Engagement – 4 comments, 3 likes, 762 reach.
4, Ideas for working in vital processes?: Photo, no link. Engagement – 5 comments, 6 likes, 931 reach.
5, Office furniture products: Photo, no link.Engagement – 0 comments, 12 likes, 1073 reach.
6, ‘Recognise anyone?’ (humour post): Custom image, external link. Engagement – 0 comments, 20 likes, 1706 reach.
7, Educational consultant video post: Video, no links. Engagement – 3 comments, 9 likes, 1279 reach.
8, NI SME awards nomination: Custom image, no links. Engagement – 16 comments, 40 likes, 5914 reach.
9, ‘Help your favourite charity’ competition: Custom image, external link. Engagement – 25 comments excluding Darren’s replies, 12 likes, 1927 reach.
(Competition entrants received a reply offering ten percent off Smarter Surfaces NI products as thanks for nominating)
10, ‘What’s your productivity tip?’: Photo, no link. Engagement – 3 comments, 13 likes, 2739 reach.
11, Is now the best time to do business in Belfast?: Long-form text, external link. Engagement – 6 comments, 51 likes, 8874 reach.
The Final Countdown
How did the 27,000 total views and resulting engagements look across recent weeks?
Again: We intentionally concentrated on a range of post types, subjects, informal and corporate, links and no links. Previous posts were mostly about products and links to corporate blogs.
The results? Some posts, of course, worked well and some variations didn’t. And we got some clear answers to our ‘LinkedIn myths’ questions.
Let’s dig a bit deeper to see what’s what.
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Our ‘Best in Show’ Posts
A closer look at two of the most successful updates posted for Darren…
So, some early thoughts? Lightening up with non-corporate posts designed to start a conversion created a solid response. And didn’t need video content. Meanwhile, the ‘business in Belfast’ post included an external link but achieved great reach without so much as a custom image due to local engagement in the topic.
So…What Worked? We Demand Answers!
Let’s not forget those LinkedIn myths we set out to test against our posts.
We’ve looked at some average engagement (likes and comments) totals to get a better view…
How did long-form text, custom images and videos perform?
So, long-form text takes a – perhaps – surprising lead for actual engagement with custom images a respectable second. Video is, as you’d expect, a firm performer but far from the strongest.
What does it all mean?: Quality, variety and relevance are more important than the type of post.
What kind of subjects hit the mark?
Personal company news – meaning, day-to-day updates other businesses can relate to – was a clear winner here.
What does it all mean?: Products, corporate news and self-praise can only go so far. Let your audience go behind the scenes with relatable highs and lows of everyday business life for a greater connection.
To link or not to link? And when to lighten up?
Posts with no link won better engagement for us but not by a huge margin, while – as before – informal posts gave much more for the audience to react to than corporate info and product news.
What does it all mean?: Great content can carry a an external link, even if social platforms would prefer you didn’t. Meanwhile, posts should be a slice of life at the ‘water cooler’. Not copied and pasted from company brochures.
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Some Final Thoughts
Our conclusions*: We think you’ll do best if you ignore the rules, invest in a variety of quality conversational content and think beyond those out-of-context tips and tricks you’ll hear at networking events and in ‘how to’ videos. After all, no one drafting up isolated ‘quick fix’ advice knows your company like you do.
Ultimately: Really talk WITH your audience – using a mix of rule-breaking content as localised as it needs to be – to bring them into your brand.
(* Yes, statisticians, we know. Don’t @ us! These are not even remotely scientific enough to be conclusions…we still love a pretty chart)
Your Next Step?!
Beyond this test, our next advice for Darren – and for most companies – would be to use a quality landing page, community-building posts and traffic-generating content to produce usable leads and relationships.
Where would you find such things? Pull up a chair!….
Had enough of received wisdom? Want to bring your social strategy, posting and content to life?
Our in-house, staff content writers are available to help companies post smarter and think bigger.
Ps – We already loved Smarter Surfaces NI products, we think you will too. Find out more by contacting [email protected] Tell him we said hi!